Campaigners call for the prescription charge to be frozen for the next 2 years in England

The Prescription Charges Coalition have handed in a letter signed by over 600 people to freeze the charge at a time when costs are going up.

In February, the Prescription Charges Coalition, a group of over 50 organisations chaired by Parkinson’s UK, handed in their open letter to the Department of Health and Social Care ahead of the budget.

The letter calls on the UK government to freeze prescription charges for 2024 and 2025 and was signed by over 600 people who live with long-term conditions, their friends and families.

Prescription charges: unaffordable for many

A single prescription currently costs £9.65 and at a time when living costs are increasing, working-age people with long-term conditions are being forced daily to choose between heating, eating and taking their vital medication.

Living with a long-term health condition like Parkinson’s often adds to the cost of living as many need more heating to stay well, or have specific dietary needs.

Why does the charge need to be frozen?

The Coalition’s 2023 report found that nearly 1 in 10 people have skipped medication in the past year due to the cost. Not taking the full dose of medication can lead to symptoms becoming worse and an increase in using NHS resources. Read the full report here

Laura Cockram, Chair of the Prescription Charges Coalition and Head of Campaigns at Parkinson’s UK, said:

"We are deeply concerned that a further rise in the charge this year will lead to people skipping or not taking the full dose of their medication, and we fear this will have a negative impact on their health and put more pressure on the already under pressure NHS."

Paul Day, Director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, said:

"A survey of more than 1,000 pharmacists in January 2024 showed that 97% had seen patients in England decline medicines due to prescription charges, with more than a quarter saying this is happening increasingly often.

"Our members do not see this in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland as those nations have abolished prescription charges."

Next steps and how you can support 

The Coalition is waiting for a response from the minister, Andrea Leadsom,​ and will continue campaigning to urge the government to review the charge, so that people with long-term conditions can live well and reduce the burden on the NHS. 

Visit the Prescription Charges Coalition's website to find out more about their work